Thursday, July 16, 2020

2020 Primary Endorsements: Eli Savit for Prosecutor

The prosecutor candidate scorecard from Liberate don't Incinerate. You can read more about their analysis here.  

There are three candidates running in the democratic primary for Washtenaw County Prosecutor: Hugo Mack, Eli Savit, and Arianne Slay. Savit and Slay are the top contenders for the post I focus primarily on the race between them here. Additionally, Mack’s score on the Liberate don’t Incarcerate scorecard is enough to rule him out.

In March 2018, I laid out my hopes for a progressive prosecutor for Washtenaw County. You can read that here. Eli Savit is the prosecutor candidate that comes closest to this. In particular I like his pledge to not seek cash bail nor coercive charges. Cash bail is entirely immoral. It is a system by which people are caged without being convicted of a crime simply for being poor. The burden of our cash bail system falls disproportionately on the poor, Black people, and brown people. In our system, the prosecutor is the person with the greatest control over what happens to a person pre trial, specifically whether they are caged with bail. They determine the charges and request bail amounts. In addition to immorally falling harder on the backs of the poor and minorities, cash bail does not increase the likelihood the accused will show up to trial nor does it make communities safer.

Additionally, there are a lot of other things I like about Savit. He has pledged to not prosecute consensual sex work, and prosecute environmental crimes. Finally I like the very specific pledges that Savit has made. I think it’s really important to have specifics we can hold a candidate to account for.

Arianne Slay is the other serious contender for prosecutor. She is a career prosecutor, first in the County Prosecutor’s Office under Brian Mackie, and now working as a prosecutor in for the city of Ann Arbor. Slay touts how close she is to law enforcement. To be honest, I don’t think this is a positive. Right now in this country we are seeing acutely the oppression our law enforcement and our carceral systems bring to Black and brown communities. I think that it’s important that our new prosecutor not be predisposed to favoring law enforcement’s point of view.

I want to see fewer people caged in Washtenaw County. I think Eli Savit is the candidate best equipped to make that happen.

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